General Description
The migratory life cycle of pacific salmon and steelhead offers students an opportunity to explore how adaptations help animals survive in different environments. During the course of this unit the life cycle of the salmon will take us from egg to adult, from freshwater streams in the redwoods to the salty Pacific Ocean, over obstacles and past predators. Students will explore the concept of watersheds in the context of the Mill Creek watershed in Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park in Humboldt county.

This unit of study provides four, one hour, in-class lessons to familiarize your students with the story of salmon and key concepts concerning migration and watersheds.  The fifth lesson is a live, interactive videoconference with Park Interpreters.  The interpreter will talk directly with your students about the life cycle, habitats and adaptations of the amazing pacific salmon.

Click HERE to schedule this program

Academic Content Standard Subject Area

Grade Level
3rd, 6th (adaptable for other grades)

Primary Common Core Content Standards:
    3rd Grade: RI.3.3, RI.3.4, W.3.7, SL.3.1, SL.3.3
    6th Grade: WHST-6-8.2, WHST-6-8.7, RST-6-8.1, RST-6-8.3, RST-6-8.9, SL.6.1, SL.6.2

Primary Next Generation Science Standards:
3rd Grade: 3-LS1-1, 3-LS3-1, 3-LS3-2, 3-LS4-3
    6th Grade: MS-LS1-4, MS-LS1-5, MS-ESS3-3
Time Required
Four, one hour, in-class lessons
One, one hour videoconference

Through classroom lessons and participating in the videoconference, students will be able to:

  • Describe the salmon life cycle
  • Explain salmon adaptations
  • Identify the characteristics of watersheds and how human activity can impact them

Academic Contributor
Cathy Dickerson, HERC Program Manager, Humboldt County Office of Education
Lessons 1, 2, and 4 are used with permission from The Salmon Source: an Educator's Guide. California Department of Fish and Game (c) 2007.